Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The W(h)ine Trail

Meg couldn't wait to take me to Charlottesville for my birthday. Ten months later after a few family tragedies, the day finally came for our trip. The gleam in her eyes was easily palpable...plans...she had plans. And when the Burton women plan...you better drink your coffee, get a good night's sleep, and say a few "Hail Marys"...cause it is gonna be a lonnnng day.

GDD...Gym, Drop the dog off at Grandma's, and Drive...yep, that's our reality show. Now let us all forget (not really) that it was about 12:20pm once we had left our precious pup at Grandma's house. For anyone who knows me, I eat every 3-4 hours, require 30 minutes of exercise a day, or I'm generally a huge piece of shit to be around.

"We need to find a quick place to eat", I said. "Ok", she said, "maybe there will be something at the winery".

Did I mention our plan?

Drive to 3-4 wineries "along the way" to Charlottesville, Va from Middletown, Md...wait a second, that's at least a three hour drive. "Hey honey, these wineries are in Charlottesville right?" "Hey Matty, turn right here". Let's not forget we were 20 minutes into the trip.

First stop, Breaux...yawn...the Wine Barista was flustered...it was Monday, 10 people were at her counter, and she had NO skills in triaging her wine...the vintner...a real estate tycoon from the Outer Banks, apparently "Sun Realty"...not undrinkable..except the fact I'm a Jacobs, so I can drink some hooch. Bottom line...stick to real estate, the wine thing and the atmosphere, and the fact you want to charge 48 dollars for your Nebiollo cause they charge a lot for good bottles in Italy...go back to real estate bub.

Getting angrier, we literally drive 3 minutes to a friend of a friend's vineyard...Hillsborough.

Literally I bust in the remodeled barn door (god was it beautiful), and raid the meat and cheese fridge...I must have looked like some kind of mongrel rummaging through their product on a Monday at 2pm muttering things like, "mmm, meat...cheese....mmm, do you have bread?"

My poor wife...said something like, "Listen, our friend Bryan's buddy Karem works here, and we called ahead, and yeah, sorry for my husband, he's like a Wildebeest when he's hungry, we didn't plan for lunch".

Magically, after stuffing gobs of Amish Sharp Cheddar and Pinot Grigio Cured Salami into my mouth the clouds lifted...I could see the beautiful view of a kaleidoscope of changing leaves on trees and grape vines...our conversation with the Wine Barista was familiar...friendly, we were getting drunk on atmosphere and pretty decent Virginia wine...I must say, the "Onyx" would feature as a nice little table wine...did I mention we somehow got this friends and family discount of 20% after my erratic caveman behavior? Have charm, will travel (feed me first).

Next stop...Sunset Hills...literally another 3 miles or so. Sated...I didn't have ANY expectations. Best wine of the day, the most complex Virginia wine I had ever tasted...seriously. You can actually lay these bottles down for a few years and they might actually taste good.

Looking at my watch...3 o'clock..."Hey Meg, how much further of a drive?" "Oh, about three hours"...

Seriously? Really? As the blood sugar ticked down slowly, and the drive got more trafficky, and longer, and the roads wound on and on I kept trying to notice the ABSOLUTE BEAUTIFUL scenery that passed us by. Farms, hills, mountains, changing leaves, oh my God was it beautiful. But I was hungry...meat and cheese and wine do not make for good nutrition prior to a 3 hour drive.

And at 6:30pm, we pulled in, wearily, to a beautiful surprise...The Clifton Inn...a place on the Relais Chateaux list...the same list as "The Inn at Little Washington?" Patrick O'Connell was just here two weeks ago? Oh, that's because he is the president of the "list" on the East Coast. The Obamas were just here last week? Do go on...we've been upgraded from the Garden Room to the Blue Ridge Suite overlooking the property?

Do go on...forget the W(h)ine trail and the longest drive ever...lets move on to our first dinner..."The Local"...

Meg, she done good...real good! And Virginia...your wine is starting to make some ways in our world.


  1. I love going out that way. Its always so pretty. It reminds me of growing up in Germany in highschool And the wine is much better than that of Maryland. Sorry local marylanders, but it just is and i am a cali wine girl at heart myself.

    anyways, glad you got to enjoy a good day, even happier that Hillsborough lightened your spirits. and it sounds like from all your updates the trip isn't totally horrible :-P have a great one and a great birthday!

  2. Hooray...the chef's table last night blew our minds